Cop Shoot Cop

I have come to you today to speak of Cop Shoot Cop's 1994 album "Release." This album is just such a boot to the head, that as your attorney, I must advise you to obtain and listen to it immediately.

I find it hard to write about music, but I've had this album for years, and it just keeps getting better and better the more I listen to it. Let me put it this way:

    This album is as good as Gang of 4's "Entertainment."

Strong words, I know. But there it is.

Every song on this album has the ability to just get in my gut, dig in its fingers and twist: "It Only Hurts When I Breathe", "Slackjaw", "Any Day Now", "Suckerpunch"... I can't even pick a favorite. The lyrics, the hammering basslines, it's all just so fucking good.

I saw Cop Shoot Cop once, at the Warfield in, I guess, 1993? I think they were opening for someone. At the time, I only knew one song, "$10 Bill", which was getting some radio play. A good song, but I wish I had been more familiar with their material, or had gotten to see them again before they broke up. I remember being really impressed with them even though I didn't know their stuff, especially at the fact that they had basically two and a half drummers, including a whole bunch of scrap metal.

I picked up "Psychopharmacology" by Firewater, the next band that CSC's singer started, but it didn't really grab me.

I missed the boat on Gang of 4, too: I'll never forgive myself for passing up a chance to see them live in 1984(?), because at the time all I knew them by was "I Love a Man in Uniform". I've bought tickets to see them twice since, each time they had re-formed, and both times the tour was canceled before it made it to the west coast (first their tour with Public Enemy and Sisters of Mercy (!), then later, a show at The Stone for which they just failed to appear for who-knows-what reason.)

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11 Responses:

  1. ciphergoth says:

    *immediately goes to put it on again* Yes! Preach it brother! Possibly my favourite album in the world ever, though at the moment "The Fragile" is jostling for that position. I have been trying to convince my friends of the goodness of both this album and your journal; I shall now use this post to convince those who I've only won over on one of the two counts.

    I was introduced to CSC by <lj user="zotz">, who played "$10 Bill" from "Ask Questions Later" as a regular track at a club he played at. Sadly I've had little success in getting anyone to play anything else by them; I don't know what you'd play from "Release" at a club. However <lj user="zotz"> has played both "She's Like a Shot" and "Burn Your Bridges" from "Consumer Revolt" and they both work rather well for dancing (if you don't mind the 7/4 time on the former).

    Favourites from "Release" are probably "Last Legs", "Slackjaw", "Swimming in Circles". Although I got funny looks from my primary partner for putting "Lullaby" on a compilation for someone I'm attracted to...

  2. vincel says:

    I must have seen Gang of Four around the time "Entertainment" released. I don't remember them as being particularly good live, though it was amusing to watch Andy Gill do his Wilko Johnson impersonation.

  3. atakra says:

    "Consumer Revolt" was always my favorite album by Cop Shoot Cop. They were supposed to play a single show in Garberville, California in 1992, but they never made it (the venue was closed down the week before by the local government as it was a notorious biker bar in the heart of the Emerald Triangle). I remember that the rumor at the time was that the band had a good friend who worked at that bar who was an old girlfriend or something of one of the band's lineup.
    I've sort of always regarded them as a more recent Test Dept or Beatnigs-esque type band.
    Invisible has a track record of skipping the original concept bands, but finding successors that play the same sort of thing off well.

  4. ideaspace says:

    "The Ponzi Scheme" is my favorite Firewater album - much of "Psychopharmacology" seems thin (although the 4-piece band for "Psycho" is a dynamo on stage - Tamir Muskat drums like God is flashing his blues at him). "Get Off The Cross... We Need Wood For The Fire" is the most Copshootcoppy, as some of the songs were written post-"Release" but pre-breakup. The duo here formed by Jim "Filer" Coleman (C$C's piano and samples guy) and Mauro Teho Teardo is also recommended.

    "Release" is a beautiful monster at the crest of its career. How can you keep 'em down on the farm when they've smashed Tokyo? I remember the day "Release" came out; buying that CD was the only thing I did that day. From that first laser burst opening on "Interference" I sat open-mouthed, electrically comatose, reeling from a band that could exceed the expectations I had coming off of "Ask Questions Later."

    • nothings says:

      Whereas I think The Ponzi Scheme is absolutely the worst of the three Firewater albums.

      But then I also prefer Ask Questions Later to Release. Although, if I had my druthers, I'd take them both to a desert island. But to me, Release has a lot more filler and overwrought Tod A songs like "The Divorce", and the difference between his songs and Natz' are too obvious. In AQL, the Natz songs seem better integrated, short works from Puleo and Filer are included, and "Surprise, Surprise" is a masterpiece that's actually a collaboration between Natz and Tod A--Tod's lyrical aesthetic and Natz' tritone-centric riffing, I guess. (Maybe there's more collaboration on the previous albums, which I don't own?)

      As for Firewater, I recommend Get Off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire to nearly everyone, even people who wouldn't like CSC. Rock klezmer with a Tom Waits-ish vocal, how could you not like it? If one is just going to listen to a few tracks, try "Bourbon and Division", "When I Burn This Place Down", and "Strange Reaction".

      But since jwz' opinion of CSC matches yours, maybe your opinion of Firewater will be a better fit.

      • nothings says:

        Bah, I forgot to mention: I never saw CSC live--I didn't start listening to them until after Release came out, but I saw Firewater (on the Get Off the Cross tour) opening for Come, and they were the tightest band I've ever seen, despite being a six-piece on a tiny stage in a tiny club in Boston. It made me really wish I'd seen CSC live.

  5. injector says:

    I've seen you list Cop Shoot Cop in your "Current Music" in the past. I've seen a few people mention how similar their musical tastes are to your's, I'm also on that list. I remember before the DNA Lounge was open you'd stream your CD collection. I would play it at work sometimes. Most songs would fall into one of two catagories. Either me going, "what is that...oh yeah, that's great, I'll have to go home and listen to the whole CD." Or, "what is that...I wish the IDs were working right for me, oh a few lyrics, Google, ah, must go and buy that."

    As for Release, I too would have a hard time coming up with a favorite song, but I'll just add, "and the clouds outside your bedroom window pane resemble crippled children limping slowly 'cross the sky".

    I jump to Interference in my play list, and turn off shuffle...

  6. chromebishop says:

    Yes, I recall Cop Shoot Cop
    Had the album
    It didnt take
    I seem to recall they are much like Therapy?
    I love Therapy?
    Highly recommend Hats off to the Insane as strongly as you recomend Release.

  7. rzr_grl says:

    Amen, brother.

  8. dr_memory says:

    Preach on.

    That said, I do like Firewater's "Get Off the Cross (We Need the Wood for the Fire)" a bit better than "Release".

    "Psychopharmacology" is by far Firewater's weakest album.

  9. hammerforge says:

    So...I recently started downloading groups that I only got a small taste of the first time around (you run into more good shit, and have a harder time experiencing it as a squatter). And searching for Cop Shoot Cop websites, what do I come up with, an LJ entry that pretty much sums up my thoughts.